The NFL admitted Monday that the Browns’ Myles Garrett shouldn’t have been flagged for roughing on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger that led to a touchdown on the next play, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
The mistake could’ve been the difference in the game, which ended in a 21-21 tie in overtime.
NFL V.P. of Officiating Al Riveron told NFL Network Monday that Garrett didn’t land with most or all of his body weight on Roethlisberger, and therefore it wasn’t a foul.
“The rule specifically says ‘most, if not all, of your body weight,'” Riveron said. “So we want that player to make an effort.
“And the last three or four weeks, we have pulled extensive video to show the clubs exactly what we’re talking about, and we probably last week showed 5-to-1 or 6-to-1 of legal hits, or legal contact, as opposed to illegal contact. Because the question we get all the time is, well, what do you want our players to do? Well, they have to not put the weight on the quarterback.
“And this one [on Garrett] yesterday showed, even though there is some body weight on Ben, this is not what we would consider contact that rises to the level of a foul.”
Roethlisberger, facing a third and 7 from the Browns’ 8, threw the ball away in the back of the end zone with Garrett bearing down on him. Garrett hit him after the throw, and was flagged half the distance to the goal, but the hit appeared legal.
On the next play, James Conner ran in from the 4 to make it 7-0 with 11:16 left in the half.
Browns coach Hue Jackson, also believing the hit was legal, got in the face of referee Shawn Smith and gave him an earful. But it was too late.
“There were quite a few times I talked to the officials about things I saw and calls that they made,” Jackson said. “The call on Myles Garrett, I do not get that.
“They said that it was roughing the passer. That led to a touchdown.”
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